Giannis Antetokounmpo is the reigning NBA MVP and one of the most dominant players in the league. He averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists last season leading the Milwaukee Bucks to 60 wins and an Eastern Conference Finals berth.
At just 24 years old, he is arguably the best young player in the world. There are some “experts” that believe he is currently the best player in the game. However, Giannis doesn’t see it that way.
“There’s a lot of things I can improve on,” Giannis said to ESPN. “First of all, [I have to] look at myself before I look at anybody else. Try to self-improve as much as possible. There are a lot of things that I got to work on in my game.”
“A lot of people say, ‘You are the MVP, you are one of the best players in the league, you are so dominant. But I think I can get better. I think I am at 60 percent of my potential, as good as I can be. I just want to be better. If I am in the same situation again [in the conference finals], react better, play the game better, play better, execute better.”
The Bucks were the favorite entering the Eastern Conference Finals but fell to the Toronto Raptors in six games. That can be looked at as a positive going forward. Giannis and his teammates gained valuable experience they can build on next season.
“My goal is going to stay the same: It’s get better, take it day by day, step by step, and the ultimate goal is to win a championship,” Giannis said. “As long as that we are all on the same page and we are all focused on that goal, why not play for the Bucks 20 years, why not play 25 years? Why not, after playing, be a member of the coaching staff or a member of the front office? But we got to have the same goal. We got to have the same principles. … We got to focus on winning a championship.”
Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and George Hill are all returning to the Bucks going forward. Milwaukee also added veteran center Robin Lopez, veteran wing Wesley Matthews and the Thanasis Antetokounmpo. If the pieces are being built around Giannis, expect him to compete as a Buck.
“I want to be a part of a winning team,” Antetokounmpo continued. “As long as we have the same mindset and same approach to the game, there’s no reason for me to move and not be like Steph [Curry], not like be like Dirk [Nowitzki] or Kobe [Bryant] or Tim Duncan.”
To think that Giannis has just scratched the surface of the player he can be is crazy to think about. There is no doubt he has a few holes in his game, for instance, outside shooting. He has the drive and determination to continue to improve his game. The best part is, he wants to do it in Milwaukee.
The current landscape of the NBA has superstar players moving to different teams constantly. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard will all be playing for a different team in the 2019-20 NBA season than the 2018-19 season. That doesn’t have to be the case for Giannis. It isn’t the case for Portland Trail Blazers’ star Damian Lillard.
Last season was a special year for the Bucks and next season could be even more special. This team will go as far as Giannis can take them.